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Georgia outside linebacker Brenton Cox has put his name in the transfer portal.

Brenton Cox, Justin Fields and the curious case of the No. 1 jersey

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The curious case of the No. 1 jersey following the departure of Brenton Cox

For the entirety of his Georgia career, Sony Michel wore the No. 1 jersey incredibly well. Save for a freak injury in the offseason of 2016, the only problems the former Georgia running back ever caused were to opposing defenses.

But the next two players who wore that same No. 1 jersey — Justin Fields and Brenton Cox — didn’t have quite the same fortune that Michel did.

Fields transferred from the program in January and ended up at Ohio State after he saw his playing time fluctuate from game to game. His final play in a Georgia uniform ended up being the disastrous fake punt in the SEC championship game loss to Alabama.

Cox saw a similarly rocky time at Georgia prior to putting his name in the transfer portal on Monday. The sophomore outside linebacker was not spotted at practice on Monday after Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning gave a cryptic response regarding his status with the team.

“That’s a good question. I would leave that up to coach Smart at this time,” Lanning said.

Back in April, Cox was arrested with less than one ounce of marijuana found in their Rooker Hall dorm rooms, according to the Athens-Clarke County jail booking recap report. Last season, Cox also got into a shoving match with senior outside linebacker D’Andre Walker during the Middle Tennessee State game. 

Like Fields, Cox also didn’t have his finest moments in the loss to Alabama. When Walker went down with an injury, Cox was tasked with filling his role at outside linebacker. But when Jalen Hurts entered the game for Alabama, Cox — along with Georgia’s other outside linebacker — struggled mightily to keep Hurts in the pocket. Hurts’ scrambling was a big reason he was able to lead the Crimson Tide to a win over Georgia.

Cox’s exit looks worse than it actually is, given his status as a 5-star high school prospect. There was no guarantee that he was going to be a meaningful contributor on the 2019 team. It was clear in the spring that Cox had already been passed on the depth chart by the likes of Nolan Smith, Jermaine Johnson and Azeez Ojulari.

Related: What Brenton Cox’s potential exit does and doesn’t mean for Georgia outside linebacker room

With Cox and Fields now both gone, two of the seven Composite 5-star prospects from Georgia’s No. 1 ranked signing class have left before playing even a game in their sophomore seasons. Both Cox and Fields looked the part of 5-star prospects stepping off the bus, but neither lived up to the ranking with their on-field play. Of course, Roquan Smith wasn’t the player we saw as a junior when we was a freshman.

I joked on Twitter on Monday that the jersey might be cursed, given the unceremonious endings regarding for both Fields and Cox. To quote Billy Bob Thornton’s character from Friday Night Lights, “Our only curses are the ones that are self-imposed.”

With Cox now off the roster, there is only one player listed as wearing the No. 1 jersey for the 2019 season. It’s 5-star wide receiver prospect, George Pickens. But interestingly enough Pickens hasn’t been wearing the No. 1 jersey during practice, as he’s been spotted in No. 83.

Maybe he believes in the bad juju associated with the number. But more likely, it’s just a coincidence and the fact that Cox and Fields have left the program can be chalked up to not every 5-star prospect living up to the billing that is put on them.

Maria Taylor makes a surprise appearance at Georgia football practice

Charlie Woerner was just trying to get his team motivated but Georgia coach Kirby Smart clearly wasn’t impressed by his effort. So Smart, seemingly out of nowhere, called on one of the most famous Georgia alums in the sports world to help out.

In a video put out by the Georgia football program, Maria Taylor and fellow ESPN reporter Holly Roe were at Georgia’s practice on Monday. The video showed the duo trying to motivate the team, with Roe speaking to the offense and Taylor hyping up the defense.

Not to say that Roe did a bad job getting the offense motivated, but the defense was clearly a little more excited in the video. And we are going to attribute that Taylor and her efforts.

Taylor is one of the leading voices in college football given her work on College GameDay. She might not get to work a lot of Georgia games given ESPN’s contract with the SEC, but with the magnitude of the Georgia-Notre Dame game this season, there is a very real chance Taylor is in town along with David Pollack, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso for College GameDay when the two teams meet on Sept. 21.

College GameDay has not been to Georgia since 2013, when the Bulldogs hosted LSU. This upcoming season will be Taylor’s third with College GameDay.

The Bulldogs open the 2019 season on Aug. 31 against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Taylor will be working the Oregon-Auburn game that night in addition to her duties on College GameDay.

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